Application: Premise Paper In week 1 you explored the general topic of interest for your envisioned dissertation study and received some feedback from your instructor. In week 2, you explored resources you may use in developing the academic base for your premise. This week, your assignment is to combine these elements to form the premise paper for your dissertation study. This submission will be graded. To complete this assignment, incorporate readings, feedback from your instructor, and any additional work you have done this week on your topic and problem statement. Be sure to consider the methodological approach you envision for your dissertation study. Support your Application Assignments with specific references to all resources used in its preparation. You are asked to provide a reference list for all resources, including those in the Learning Resources for this course.





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Dissertation Topic: Efficacy of Offender Reentry Programs Targeting Recidivism in the United
Kathy Green
Writing a Quality Prospectus
CRJS – 8115
Walden University
Efficacy of Offender Reentry Programs Targeting Recidivism in the United States
I arrived at the above topic after an extensive search and review of the literature concerning the
prison reforms, specific rates of recidivism and the reentry programs. Initially, I had made an
observation and did prior research on the topic of the effectiveness of reentry programs, so I
already had an idea of what I wanted to research on. Any issue concerning prisoners receives
little popularity in politics, and therefore prisoners have little political power. There is no proper
political constituency to pressure for the funding of prisoner’s reintegration into the society. The
process of reentry even becomes more difficult for individuals with multiple jail terms. The
unions of correctional officers are powerful, but they urge for increased prison time and not for
improving the conditions and programs in the prisons and after the imprisonment.
The primary interest in studying the topic is because of the alarmingly high levels of
recidivism even with the reentry programs put in place. According to data from the Justice
Department’s Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS), 2014 67.8% of released prisoners get rearrested
within three years for a new crime. The rates of recidivism for five years was 76.6 %(
Muhlhausen, 2015). Around 95-97% of incarcerates citizens in the US will be released back into
society. However, after release life for the ex-convict may become unbearable with no proper or
effective system for re-integration into the society. The ex-convicts are released with nothing to
call their own-no housing, no food, no clothing and no way to contact their relatives.
Furthermore, there are other factors such as stigma, deterioration of social networks and
economic distress that affect the reentry into the community. The adverse effects of such
consequences of the ex-convicts with no proper reentry programs contribute to recidivism.
Around the early 1990s, the Department of Justice has invested many funds into the
prisoner reentry programs. However, currently, there is no adequate knowledge of the most
effective programs for assisting inmates to reintegrate successfully and safety into society.
Furthermore, policymakers need to ensure that the evaluation of programs is based on the
primary purpose for which it was established. Recidivism remains the most effective measure of
assessing the impact of the programs for prisoner’s reentry. However, there is still some criticism
on the use utilization of recidivism as a measure of effectiveness as compared with other factors
used to assess the reintegration process (Muhlhausen, 2015).
The rates of recidivism suggest a problem with the reentry programs already in place.
While common measures such as housing and employment are critical, the factors are not the
primary goal of reentry programs (Muhlhausen, 2015). The lack of adequate measures for the
effectiveness of reentry programs targeting recidivism makes the topic worth for further studies
and recommendations. There is a lack of focus for policymakers. I am placing primary
importance of the recidivism rates as a measure of the effectiveness of reentry programs.
Additionally, there is a need to appraise programs about their outcome on the major purpose for
which they were employed.
Research on the evaluation of prisoner reentry programs based on employment shows
that the programs play a minimal role in reducing recidivism (Muhlhausen, 2015). The outcomes
of scientifically based evaluations raise some doubt regarding the effectiveness of the
involvement of the federal government in reducing the cost of reentry programs.
There is a general assumption by policymakers that assisting ex-convicts to get
employment has an impact on the rates of recidivism (Travis et al., 2014). The assumption of the
program is that employment helps ex-convicts to desist from crime. However, the primary
question is the timing of the employment for ex-convicts and not the employment opportunity
itself. The author, Mulhausen (2015) states that there are theories on the relationship between
resistance and employment among individuals who leave the criminal-justice system. The first
premises are the maturation viewpoint which states that desistance from crime happens before
the acquisition of legitimate employment while the turning point theory presumes that resistance
happens after the ex-convict gets employed. Assuming that the maturation theory is more
accurate, then assisting prisoners to get employment before they are ready to reform is
unproductive. The process of reforming a prisoner and their identity to that of a law-abiding
citizen is a complicated procedure that should precede legitimate employment. For example, a
prisoner has to change the mindset and realize that a crime has more harm than benefits.
Although federally funded reentry programs offering employment can be sufficient
evidence shows that it is vital for ex-convicts to be psychologically stable before they can be
productive in the workplace. Reentry programs that offer a multifaceted approach have more
positive results. There is still a gap in the research, mainly on a large scale to shed some light on
what programs are effective and which ones are not (Travis et al., 2014).
The topic has much significance in society due to a large number of prisoners (up to 700,
000) that are released from prison early in the United States. Studies show that ex-convicts face
many challenges when reintegration back into society. Reentry programs are varied with regards
to the services offered and treatment modalities to deliver the services. Among the 700000 exconvicts, about two-thirds are rearrested are reincarnated within three years. Despite the vast
number of reentry programs, little is known about their effectiveness. It is important to determine
whether the reentry programs are useful in the recidivism rate reduction and what factors are
associated with the highest success rates.
Relationship of the topic to public policy and administration
In 1968, H. George Frederickson developed a theory of equity in the society and advocated it as
the third pillar of public administration (Toavs, n. d). The theory was concerned with how public
administration was ignoring the economic and social conditions of different citizens. The
assumptions are seen in the case of ex-convicts with no proper ways of evaluating what reforms
are best for this group of citizens. It is important for policymakers to streamline reentry programs
to suit the immediate needs of the ex-prisoners first before considering the long-term outcomes(
Kendall et al ., 2018 Therefore, the public administration should promote social equity for the
ex-convicts to reduce the rates of recidivism. The current post-release programs have a limited
effect on the long-term outcomes and rates of recidivism. The impact of the system of prisons on
society is tremendous although it is an unpopular area. The prison system is a direct reflection of
the effectiveness of the rule of law but happens to have an impact on the society where the
prisoners come from and return to after the jail term (Harvard Law Review, 2010).
American Psychological Association. (2010). Learning APA style. Retrieved from
Harvard Law Review. (March 2010). “Designing a prisoner reentry system hardwired to
manage disputes”, 123 Harv. L. Rev. 1339, database: Lexis.
Muhlhausen, D. (2015). Studies Cast Doubt on Effectiveness of Prisoner Reentry Programs.
Retrieved from…/studies-cast-doubt-effectiveness-prisonerreentry-program…
Kendall, S., Redshaw, S., Ward, S., Wayland, S., & Sullivan, E. (2018). A systematic review of
qualitative evaluations of reentry programs addressing problematic drug use and mental
health disorders amongst people transitioning from prison to communities. Health &
Justice, 6(1), 4.
Toavs, D. (n.d.). Ideas of governance. Retrieved from
Travis, J., Western, B., & Redburn, F. S. (2014). The growth of incarceration in the United
States: Exploring causes and consequences. The National Academies Press
Useem, B. (1997). Choosing a Dissertation topic. PS: Political Science & Politics, 30(2), 213–
216. Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.
Dissertation topic.
The dissertation topic, I settled on from week one was; Efficacy of Offender Reentry
Programs Targeting Recidivism in the United States. For this weeks assignment, I am developing
and revising the topic and formulating a problem statement in the dissertation process. The
subject of prison reforms receives little attention and has less political popularity, making the
area an abandoned area regarding political power. There is a significant research gap, evidence to
show that the problem is significant in the field, enough scholarly articles for the topic to build
on the literature review and the problem is amenable to a scientific study as evaluated using the
Litmus test (Academic Guides: Research Resources: Research Planning & Writing).
Problem statement.
Offender reentry programs in the United States remain an area of concern with an
alarmingly high rate of Recidivism within 3-5 years of release from prison and correctional
facilities. Although there are strong unions of correctional officers, they mainly aim at increasing
the jail term and not improving the conditions and programs inside and outside the prisons after
the jail term. Prisoners have little political power due to the little popularity of the area to
political leaders. Furthermore, there are no proper political reforms that can advocate for the
allocation of more funds to improve the process of offender re-entry programs into society.
Muhlhausen (2015), found out that approximately 67.8% of released prisoners get
rearrested within three years for a new crime and the rate increases to 76.6% within five years.
Although the higher rate of 95-97% incarcerated citizens in the United Staes being released back
into the society, there are no active programs in the re-integration process. To date, there is no
clear evidence of the most effective programs that can help to reduce the recidivism rates and
help in re-integration for the ex-convicts. Perhaps a study which investigates the efficacy of the
offender re-entry programs targeting recidivism in the United States by a mixed-method case
study could be useful in determining the most effective remedy programs and assist in policy
formulation in the area of prison reforms.
Use of the Walden Doctoral Capstone Resources in the Dissertation Process
The Walden Doctoral Capstone Resources have been very useful from the first week. The
resources helped me a lot in developing the dissertation topic. For this week the resources have
been useful, especially the Litmus test resource in the development of the problem statement for
the dissertation process. Besides the resources are proving to be handled in refining my skills of
using the APA citation style in my academic work.
I plan to utilize the resources in the different stages of the research process. The first step
in the research process will be the development of the proposal with the capstone resources as a
guide. First, the resources on developing an annotated minibiography will be useful when
evaluating the credibility of my sources. After I choose the various sources, the Walden resource
will come in handy in the development and complication of the literature review. In the later
stages of the research, the resources will be useful when choosing the correct research paradigm
and methodology. Throughout the dissertation writing process, I will be able to refer to some
examples of quality dissertations listed in the Walden Capstone resources which will form a
backbone that I can use to evaluate the quality of my dissertation. The Spss resource in the
website will be a useful guide during the analysis of the statistical data and the organization,
interpretation of the results and the discussion of the findings (Academic Guides: Doctoral
Capstone Resources: Home).
Academic Guides: Common Assignments: Annotated Bibliographies. (2018). Retrieved from
Academic Guides: Doctoral Capstone Resources: Home. (2018). Retrieved from
Academic Guides: Office of Student Research Administration: Ph.D. Dissertation Program.
(2018). Retrieved from
Academic Guides: Research Resources: Research Planning & Writing. (2018). Retrieved from
Muhlhausen, D. (2015). Studies Cast Doubt on Effectiveness of Prisoner Reentry Programs.
Retrieved from…/studies-cast-doubt-effectiveness-prisonerreentry-program…
Retrieved from
Dissertation Topic: Efficacy of Offender Re-entry Programs Targeting Recidivism in the
United States
Kathy Green
Writing a Quality Prospectus
CRJS – 8115
Walden University
Annotated bibliography: Efficacy of Offender Re-entry Programs Targeting Recidivism in
the United States
Berghuis, M. (2018). Re-entry Programs for Adult Male Offender Recidivism and
Reintegration: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis. International Journal of Offender
Therapy and Comparative Criminology, 62(14), 4655–4676.
Berghuis (2018) assessed the re-entry programs effectiveness about reducing recidivism
among male adult offenders. The systemic review and metanalysis evaluated retry
programs focused on male offender’s re-entry into the community with recidivism as the
primary outcome. The findings reflect the variability of the effectiveness of various reentries. The recommendations involved the development of program evaluations,
standardized measures or re-integration, the definition of the successful re-integration
process and focused on both individual and systemic variables of re-entry. The study
lacks a clear guide on how the recommendations are implemented. Also, the results could
have gained more credibility by taking into consideration multiple ethnic groups.
Calleja, N. G. (2018). Translating research into practice: Designing effective re-entry services
for adolescent offenders. Aggression and Violent Behaviour.
Calleja (2018) reviews a model design of a suitable specialized re-entry program for
juveniles that led to a decrease in the rates of recidivism to less than 50 percent rate of the
control group. The re-entry program evaluation assessed the effectiveness of the “Wayne
County Second Chance Re-entry Program (WC-SCA)” which is a collaborative project
involving community support partners, treatment providers, law enforcement department
and administrators of juvenile justice. The program has been identified as a potential
active practice in the planning of offender re-entry into the public and the reduction of
recidivism in the juvenile group. The best re-entry planning practices are highlighted
throughout the article. The model is an outcome of significant efforts in the past in the
field of re-entry planning and evaluation. The article fails to provide the limitations and
weakness of the program. Furthermore, there is no comparison with other successful
programs that can be used if the model fails.
Duwe, G., & King, M. (2013). Can Faith-Based Correctional Programs Work? An Outcome
Evaluation of the Inner Change Freedom Initiative in Minnesota. International Journal
of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, 57(7), 813–841.
Duwe and King (2013) examine the efficacy of religious-based re-entry programs in
reducing the rates of recidivism. The retrospective quasi-experimental study analysed the
recidivism rates in ex-offenders who had gone through the “Inner Change Freedom
Initiative” which is faith-based. The results from the study revealed that the religious
programs had a significant positive impact in reducing recidivism rates. The findings
suggest a role for continuity of mentoring and support as a contributory factor as applied
to the community’s study lacks a definite recommendation on improving the outcomes of
re-entry services.
Early, K. W., Chapman, S. F., & Hand, G. A. (2013). Family-focused juvenile re-entry
services: A quasi-experimental design evaluation of recidivism outcomes. Journal of
Juvenile Justice, 2(2), 1.
Early et al., (2013), evaluated the effectiveness of family-focused and community-based
probation services for the juveniles on recidivism. The quasi-experimental studies aimed
to compare the outcomes of standard aftercare and the family-focused “Parenting with
Love and Limits™ (PLL)” provided through the Indiana, St. Joseph County Probate
Court. The findings show lower rates of recidivism for youths receiving the services of
aftercare with statistically significant differences for readjustments. The recommendation
involves proper timing of the re-entry programs to improve the effectiveness.
Hunter, B. A., Stephen Lanza, A., Lawlor, M., Dyson, W., & Gordon, D. M. (2016). A
Strengths-Based Approach to Prisoner Re-entry: The Fresh Start Prisoner Re-entry
Program. International Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology,
60(11), 1298–1314.
Hunter et al., (2016) explore the “Fresh Start Prisoner Re-entry Program” which utilizes a
strength-based approach to re-integrate men ex-convicts in the United States into the
community. The qualitative analysis of the program begins from the start of incarceration
to the successful re-integration into the society with continuous reporting of the
respondent’s risks, limitations needs, and strengths. Throughout the process,
interventions were developed to boost the strengths of the participants. Findings show
that the strength-based programs are more effective in reducing recidivism as compared
to the risk-based programs.
Gill, C., & Wilson, D. B. (2017). Improving the success of re-entry programs: Identifying the
impact of service–need fit on recidivism — criminal Justice and Behaviour, 44 (3), 336- 359.
Gill and Wilson (2017) examined the effect of the “service-need fit” on official and selfreported recidivism using information from the ‘Serious and Violent Offender Re-entry
Initiative’ (SVORI) study and analyze the degree of correspondence between the services
offered to ex-offenders and self-reported needs of the individuals concerning recidivism
rates. The findings reflect a reduced rate of recidivism with an increased fit. Also,
findings indicate that less than half of the respondents receive the services they say they
need making the services provide ineffectively. The results provided could have been
strengthened by a provision of a clinically based risk assessment rather than a serviceneed fit. Recommendation involves the implementation of policies that support the
strength-based program for re-entry.
James, N. (2015). Offender re-entry: Correctional statistics, reintegration into the community,
and recidivism. Congressional Research Service, Library of Congress.
James (2015) examines the various aspects of re-entry programs starting from the
statistics from correctional systems to highlight the weight of the problem, an explanation
of offender re-entry and the summarizes the literature of the re-entry programs that work.
He concluded that the majority of th …
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